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Change Orders, Options & Extensions
In the era of government shutdowns and pandemics, changes to government contracts have never been more common.
GCARL ensures that government contractors know their rights and know-how protect and assert those rights when presented with a Contract modification or change order. GCARL instructs its clients to see contract modifications and change orders as opportunities to improve the terms of their deal with the government.
Whether a change order seeks to add to the scope or reduce it, GCARL can help the government contractor to maximize opportunities. CARL helps many of its clients by ensuring that, even before they receive a change order, they have practices and systems in place to quantify the impact of the changes in real-time. GCARL also assists with the preparation of change order proposals so they include supporting documentation and explanation for the contractor’s position.
The government often builds options and extensions into its contracts. And while the terms of these are often pre-negotiated many times, changes in circumstances from the date of the original award will justify further negotiation. Additionally, the language used by the government to exercise an option or to agree to an extension will include an implicit or explicit waiver of claims under the prior contract version. GCARL ensures that government contractors understand the impact that acceptance of the government’s extension or exercise of its options has on the government contractor’s ability to assert claims or seek other changes going forward.
REAs/Claims & Disputes
When the Government and its contractors cannot reach a mutual agreement on contract issues, the parties can use the Request for Equitable Adjustment (REA) or claims process to reach a resolution.
The differences between an REA and a claim are subtle but critical. GCARL works with government contractors to evaluate potential grounds for REAs to muster supporting documentation, and to prepare the REA package in a compliant manner designed to secure the contractor’s desired outcome.
GCARL also helps prepare its clients for the inevitable negotiations with the Contracting Officer that accompany submission of the REA. GCARL’s experience allows it to anticipate with regularity the likely defenses and responses by the Contracting Officer and to arm its clients with tailored and documented rebuttals. GCARL also reviews the quantum portions of the REA to ensure that all sums sought are justified (e.g. allowable and allocable) and supported.
When REAs fail to result in mutual resolution of the issue, GCARL partners with the government contractor to prepare and submit their formal claim to the Contracting Officer. Government Contractors must dot each “I” and cross each “T” to ensure that their claims are not dismissed for administrative non-compliance. The process of resolving a federal government contract claim is long enough without having to restart it due to obvious and avoidable errors.
GCARL’s goal is that its clients’ claims packages are “silver bullets,” designed to not only present the client’s best case but also to anticipate and neutralize/eliminate any defensive responses and requests for additional information from the Contracting Officer. GCARL insists that its clients’ claims result in the Contracting Officer rendering a decision in the shortest time possible.
If the Contracting Officer ultimately denies the claim, GCARL sits with its clients to evaluate the next steps, whether pursuing an appeal of the Contracting Officer’s decision or cutting bait and moving on. GCARL works with its government contractor clients to again ensure that wherever it chooses to appeal the Contracting Officer’s decision (i.e., Board of Contract Appeals or U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC)) that the appeal of that dispute follows all requirements and is in a form calculated to advance the government contractor’s claims. GCARL will not serve as the advocate or legal representative of the government contractor but will assist legal counsel based on GCARL’s substantive knowledge of the claim and its history and supporting documents.